VI. One-Minute Speeches
These short speeches (300 words or less) may be made by Members before legislative business each day. If the speech given at the beginning of the day is longer than 300 words or includes extraneous materials, it will appear in the Extension of Remarks section of the Congressional Record. Any Member may seek recognition to give a speech on a subject of his or her choice not exceeding one minute in duration. One-minute speeches are often coordinated by the majority and minority leaderships to focus on particular topics, but the speeches are not limited to such topics. Participants in these coordinated efforts usually receive priority seating and recognition.
The one-minute speech period is granted at the discretion of the Speaker, as are the number of such speeches. Some days one-minute speeches may be limited to ten or fifteen speeches per side. On other days, they may be unlimited. On occasion, this period is postponed until the end of the day if the business of the House is heavy and time is short. In this case, a Member may address the House for one minute at the end of legislative business for the day.
To give a one-minute speech, a Member should go to the front row of seats on their party’s side of the Floor and sit down. The Speaker will recognize Members in turn, alternating between the majority and minority sides. At the appropriate point, the Member should stand to seek recognition and address the Chair by saying: “Mr. Speaker (or Madam Speaker), I ask unanimous consent to address the House for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks.”
The Speaker will respond by saying: “Without objection, so ordered.” The Member may then proceed to the podium in the Well to give the speech. The Chair will tell the Member when the one minute has expired at which time the Member may finish the sentence, but no more.
NOTE: Members are strongly encouraged to read House rule XVII, “Decorum and Debate” (especially clause 1), as well as section XVII of the Jefferson’s Manual, “Order and Debate.” See also Conduct During Debate under Part XI of this manual, “General Debate in the Committee of the Whole.”
It is not proper at any time for a Member to refer to the television audience. Rule XVII states that a Member must always address the Chair and only the Chair.
Furthermore, clause 7 of rule XVII states specifically that Members may not introduce or otherwise make reference to people in the Visitors or Press Gallery.
It is acceptable to refer to actions taken by the Senate. House rules allow for references on the House Floor to the Senate or its Members. However, these remarks must be limited to the question under debate and may not include personalities. (See clause 1 of rule XVII.)
Not only is it inappropriate to address the President of the United States directly (Members must always address the Chair), but it is also improper to refer to the President in a personally offensive manner.
NOTE: A Member does not actually have to deliver a one-minute speech. He or she can simply ask unanimous consent that it be placed in the Congressional Record and yield back his or her time. The speech will be inserted at that point, but it will appear in different type to indicate that it was not delivered in person. Also, if extraneous materials are inserted with a one-minute speech, the entire speech will appear at the end of the Congressional Record just prior to special order speeches.